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Success with AAC
Like many people with a severe speech disability, Jon Feucht struggled to communicate with others until he got his first augmentative alternative communication (AAC) device. The process of locating the appropriate AAC device is slow and painstaking. Jon got connected with a Liberator, made by Prentke Romich, and that truly did liberate him! Later on Jon also started using a word-prediction device called CoWriter, produced by Don Johnston.
Getting an AAC device was just Jon's starting point. Now seven years later at age 27, Jon has built a very full and productive life. He continues to accomplish a great deal, not just in his own life, but in helping others improve their lives by maximizing options.
In 2001, Jon founded a summer camp called Authentic Voices of America for young AAC users. Jon serves as Camp Director. Jon had wanted to create a place where AAC users could learn effective ways to get the most use out of their AAC devices, as well as have a great time with disabled and non-disabled peers. That is how Authentic Voices of America was started.
Each year campers with severe expressive speech disorder come together and gain valuable personal growth experiences. In a university setting in southern Wisconsin, campers are encouraged to reach their full potential. These skills can then be applied to personal and professional life.
Currently Jon oversees the building of a new, fully accessible condominium that he will inhabit with his wife to be, Sarah Faulkner, who Jon met at Authentic Voices of America. The couple will marry next year on Jon's birthday.
Jon earned a bachelor's degree in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater. He is now a graduate student pursuing a degree in Special Education.
If that's not enough, Jon is a published author with two books in print. It is a testament to Jon becoming a very strong communicator. His message is clear to others in similar situations: be encouraged that you can be all you aspire to be, regardless of disability. Jon's first publication was a creative effort—a book of poetry entitled The Tan Car. The second is a collection of speeches entitled Straight Talks, which Jon delivered to others with disabilities. He continues to reach out to others with knowledge and support.